How to invest in startups in times of uncertainty

Lessons from Shelly Hod Moyal, Founding Partner and Co-CEO of iAngels

 Shelly Hod Moyal, Founding Partner and CEO of iAngels (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Shelly Hod Moyal, Founding Partner and CEO of iAngels
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Israel has evolved from the Start-Up Nation to the scale-up nation and is becoming a partnership nation, according to Shelly Hod Moyal, founding partner and CEO of iAngels.

“We are collaborating with all the large businesses and countries in the world, even Arab countries, something that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago,” she said last week at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference.

History shows time and again that some of the best companies were built during times of crisis, like Uber and Airbnb, and even Apple and Microsoft, and some of the most profitable VC vintages were during bear markets.

But keeping your cool and investing during times of uncertainty does not always come easy. Hod Moyal shared some tips that help her to invest during times of uncertainty.

Have a plan, a sense of purpose and do your research

For Hod Moyal, after a decade on Wall Street, returning to Israel and choosing VC was an easy choice. Israel has all the ingredients required for venture: technology, talent, innovation, agility, perseverance and proven returns – Israel’s culture possesses a distinct survival mentality powered by a strong belief that can transcend even the roughest times, which is even more important in times of uncertainty. This strong belief often comes from a deep sense of purpose, Hod Moyal’s first tip for investing during more turbulent times.

“I can share with you that one of the investments we made in the last couple of years was to support an entrepreneur named Talmon Marco... who, following two successful exits in aggregate of $1b., decided he wanted to use his success to give back to the world,” she said. “He founded a company named H2Pro, that today is positioned to be a category leader in producing hydrogen in the most efficient, sustainable way at scale – a necessity for a greener planet.”

Hod Moyal’s second tip was to have a plan because, she said, “if you don’t have a plan, you are not going to be able to be strategic and prone to making emotional decisions.” But to only make a plan is not enough; one needs to make a plan and build out a framework that allows you to stick to it.

Finally, she said that the best way to invest during times of uncertainty is with conviction “by doing your research,” so you can develop self-conviction rather than relying on the investment ideas of others, which may lead to weak hands backing off from good investments in turbulent times.

The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference 2022: Shelly Hod Moyal, Founding Partner and CEO of iAngels (MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

She explained when meeting entrepreneurs, she tries to think about how the world will look in 10, 20 and 30 years, and looks for entrepreneurs who are focused on solving the biggest pain points the world will face over the next generation.

“If you don’t have time to do the research yourself, you should consider investing in a VC whose investment strategy is aligned with your own,” Hod Moyal added.

“Today, as a venture capitalist in Israel, what motivates me is the ability to channel my energy to invest in entrepreneurs who are solving some of the most important challenges.”